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Rackmount AV: need cassette deck, CD, s-vhs, dvd, bd etc. suggestions/advice

jae

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Due to circumstances beyond my control, over the last decade or so most of my old AV equipment has either broke down (nothing really worth servicing) or went "missing" (of course, the stuff I would like to have). I still have a bunch of units kicking around but nothing I want to keep and they will likely be donated/given away/e-waste if broken as my current situation cannot allow me keep a roomful of backup equipment that is of dubious quality or will likely never be used.

That being said, I would like to build a sort of "media archival/preservation rack" where the goal is having a reliable, single unit for each major media format, so in the event I would like to playback, record, or digitize any of that old media I have or may come across, I can do so and not have to regret parting with what I have left. It's also an excuse for me to use some of my great professional/broadcast CRT monitors I have from time to time for something other than my retro arcade/240p gaming hobby.

Basically I am looking for the usual suspects in terms of brands: Sony, TASCAM, TEAC, Pioneer, Panasonic, Yamaha, Denon, JVC etc., ideally everything should be rackmountable (unless it can comfortably sit half-width or is too exceptional of a unit to ignore) and likely in good working order. But open to anything that is known good quality.

Playback is the primary desire but it's a welcomed bonus if they can record/dub/write to media as well. I can always rip discs with a computer or record audio/video with an ADC/capture card.

Regarding disc playback, does anyone reckon it is worth having a CD-specific unit and then a separate one for DVD/BD? Or do the more modern DVD/BD units handle redbook reading and/or writing fine? I recall a lot of the old rackmount CD and DAT players having easy to use seek wheels but this seems like a relic of the era and not seen in more modern bd players.

Do D-VHS players usually have no issues playing S-VHS/VHS? A D-VHS player might be nice to have but I'm not sure if there are any/many rackmount ones and they would probably sell for more than I want to pay.

I'm between Canada & Australia if anyone has any listings to point to :)
 
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Haflermichi

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Due to circumstances beyond my control, over the last decade or so most of my old AV equipment has either broke down (nothing really worth servicing) or went "missing" (of course, the stuff I would like to have). I still have a bunch of units kicking around but nothing I want to keep and they will likely be donated/given away/e-waste if broken as my current situation cannot allow me keep a roomful of backup equipment that is of dubious quality or will likely never be used.

That being said, I would like to build a sort of "media archival/preservation rack" where the goal is having a reliable, single unit for each major media format, so in the event I would like to playback, record, or digitize any of that old media I have or may come across, I can do so and not have to regret parting with what I have left. It's also an excuse for me to use some of my great professional/broadcast CRT monitors I have from time to time for something other than my retro arcade/240p gaming hobby.

Basically I am looking for the usual suspects in terms of brands: Sony, TASCAM, TEAC, Pioneer, Panasonic, Yamaha, Denon, JVC etc., ideally everything should be rackmountable (unless it can comfortably sit half-width or is too exceptional of a unit to ignore) and likely in good working order. But open to anything that is known good quality.

Playback is the primary desire but it's a welcomed bonus if they can record/dub/write to media as well. I can always rip discs with a computer or record audio/video with an ADC/capture card.

Regarding disc playback, does anyone reckon it is worth having a CD-specific unit and then a separate one for DVD/BD? Or do the more modern DVD/BD units handle redbook reading and/or writing fine? I recall a lot of the old rackmount CD and DAT players having easy to use seek wheels but this seems like a relic of the era and not seen in more modern bd players.

Do D-VHS players usually have no issues playing S-VHS/VHS? A D-VHS player might be nice to have but I'm not sure if there are any/many rackmount ones and they would probably sell for more than I want to pay.

I'm between Canada & Australia if anyone has any listings to point to :)
There are rack shelves available that will let you put anything you want in a rack. Just pick the size: 1RU (rack unit), 2RU or 3RU.
 
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jae

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There are rack shelves available that will let you put anything you want in a rack. Just pick the size: 1RU (rack unit), 2RU or 3RU.
Yeah, I'm aware, although I had assumed most of the best professional gear would likely already have mounting kits or have ears from factory. Maybe the case for some devices although at least from initial research it seems this is not true for VHS, where all the best units are apparently prosumer JVC/Panasonic units (https://www.digitalfaq.com/forum/video-restore/1567-vcr-buying-guide.html), so I would need a shelf for these. Guess I won't be buying one of those Sonys I was eyeing.

If I could find similar guides above for other devices, it would be a treat.
 

JeffS7444

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Ex broadcast TV guy here: Although Panasonic’s AG7500 S-VHS recorder was “pro”, VHS itself was really more of a consumer format, versus Betacam, 3/4” and 1” tape, hence, rack mountable VHS wasn’t common. AG7500 itself is a beast, best left to the hardcore VHS fans. If you don’t need features like jog/shuttle and time code, I’d stick with consumer models: If you got S-VHS Hifi + S-video output, you are doing really good. Prerecorded VHS movies were generally neither S-VHS nor Hifi.

My recollection is that transitional digital formats like D-VHS and Digital Compact Cassette is that they pretty much flopped, so unless you have access to a significant library of recordings in those formats, you can safely disregard.

Most impressively “pro” CD player that I’ve used is Technics SL-P1300, but it’s not designed to be rack mounted. Due to it’s age, I doubt that it would recognize CD-RW discs.
 

Mr. Widget

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There are rack shelves available that will let you put anything you want in a rack. Just pick the size: 1RU (rack unit), 2RU or 3RU.
And if you want to dress it up, Middle Atlantic makes custom rack shelves with black anodized faceplates and clamps that hold the equipment in place. Here is one I ordered for an Oppo UDP-203.

Oppo Custom Rack Shelf.jpg
 
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jae

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My recollection is that transitional digital formats like D-VHS and Digital Compact Cassette is that they pretty much flopped, so unless you have access to a significant library of recordings in those formats, you can safely disregard.
From what I have read (so far at least) about the D-VHS units, is that some models had good transport/internals compared to the average VHS/S-VHS player and also since they were more recent they tended to have the latest TBC chips (ones that were not even released in the older pro gear), which supposedly makes them decent option that reason. Also by virtue they are newer and came out closer to the DVD era they are less likely to have mechanical and other issues because of disuse. So the benefits extend mostly to playing VHS rather than having the ability to play or record D-VHS specifically.

I've been looking at the newish TASCAM and Denon stuff (BD-MP4K/BD-MP1, CD-A580, 202MKVII, CD-400U, DENON DN-300H/D) for discs/cassette/radio etc. They aren't terribly expensive but probably more than I would want to spend at MSRP but still an option. What I'm not too sure about is, how these new tascam/denon units compare to mid-late 90s/early 2000s era TOTL/professional gear from other brands. I have less confidence in anything older than that (for example see the review of the revered nak dragon: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...ments-of-nakamichi-dragon-cassette-deck.5595/ - surely some post-1995 decks at a fraction of the cost can beat this?). My assumption is that the best older stuff is probably objectively better in terms of features, robustness, and maybe even spec, but now I'd also have to deal with trying to get a unit that may have been abused or have no/hard to find replacement parts, servicing headaches etc. I guess an advantage of buying the new tascam stuff is that there will probably be parts available or it can be replaced with an identical unit pretty easily.

Also in the market for a digital AM/FM tuner if anyone has suggestions
 

deprogrammed

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This guy repairs and reviews tape decks. Among other things.
Due to circumstances beyond my control, over the last decade or so most of my old AV equipment has either broke down (nothing really worth servicing) or went "missing" (of course, the stuff I would like to have). I still have a bunch of units kicking around but nothing I want to keep and they will likely be donated/given away/e-waste if broken as my current situation cannot allow me keep a roomful of backup equipment that is of dubious quality or will likely never be used.

That being said, I would like to build a sort of "media archival/preservation rack" where the goal is having a reliable, single unit for each major media format, so in the event I would like to playback, record, or digitize any of that old media I have or may come across, I can do so and not have to regret parting with what I have left. It's also an excuse for me to use some of my great professional/broadcast CRT monitors I have from time to time for something other than my retro arcade/240p gaming hobby.

Basically I am looking for the usual suspects in terms of brands: Sony, TASCAM, TEAC, Pioneer, Panasonic, Yamaha, Denon, JVC etc., ideally everything should be rackmountable (unless it can comfortably sit half-width or is too exceptional of a unit to ignore) and likely in good working order. But open to anything that is known good quality.

Playback is the primary desire but it's a welcomed bonus if they can record/dub/write to media as well. I can always rip discs with a computer or record audio/video with an ADC/capture card.

Regarding disc playback, does anyone reckon it is worth having a CD-specific unit and then a separate one for DVD/BD? Or do the more modern DVD/BD units handle redbook reading and/or writing fine? I recall a lot of the old rackmount CD and DAT players having easy to use seek wheels but this seems like a relic of the era and not seen in more modern bd players.

Do D-VHS players usually have no issues playing S-VHS/VHS? A D-VHS player might be nice to have but I'm not sure if there are any/many rackmount ones and they would probably sell for more than I want to pay.

I'm between Canada & Australia if anyone has any listings to point to :)
This guy reviews/repairs tape decks. Among other things.
 

LTig

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I've been looking at the newish TASCAM and Denon stuff (BD-MP4K/BD-MP1, CD-A580, 202MKVII, CD-400U, DENON DN-300H/D) for discs/cassette/radio etc. They aren't terribly expensive but probably more than I would want to spend at MSRP but still an option. What I'm not too sure about is, how these new tascam/denon units compare to mid-late 90s/early 2000s era TOTL/professional gear from other brands.
I remember having read somewhere here @asr that a member was very content with a Tascam CD200 series player. Regarding longevity it doesn't matter which player you buy since there are only one or two makers of drives left.

I would recommend to use players with a drawer - I've read that slot-in models may be prone to scratch discs when they get older.
 
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jae

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I remember having read somewhere here @asr that a member was very content with a Tascam CD200 series player. Regarding longevity it doesn't matter which player you buy since there are only one or two makers of drives left.

I would recommend to use players with a drawer - I've read that slot-in models may be prone to scratch discs when they get older.
100% agree on the drawers, I've never owned a slotloader and was told the same thing a long time ago. I can't remember where but I recall reading that with some modern bd players using it as a regular cd player is perhaps "slower"/more clunky (more time to turn on, read the disc, switch tracks, seek etc.), surely this is not something to be too concerned about since it would not be used often (as long as everything is the same during actual playback)? I'm trying to minimise the number of devices but I guess I wouldn't mind having a dedicated CD player on its own if maybe it could double as something else (the tascam cd recorder comes to mind since at least it can at least record stuff as well).
 

LTig

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can't remember where but I recall reading that with some modern bd players using it as a regular cd player is perhaps "slower"/more clunky (more time to turn on, read the disc, switch tracks, seek etc.), surely this is not something to be too concerned about since it would not be used often (as long as everything is the same during actual playback)?
They need much longer to start playing because there are so many different physical disks, multiple physical layers and software protocols to support which all must be checked. A dedicated CD player is much faster. Also modern video/audio multidisk players often have no display at all so you need a TV to control it properly.
I'm trying to minimise the number of devices but I guess I wouldn't mind having a dedicated CD player on its own if maybe it could double as something else (the tascam cd recorder comes to mind since at least it can at least record stuff as well).
I bought a Tascam CDRW 700 many years ago as my standard CD player because it is able to handle CDRW disks. I had to replace a failing cap in the power supply once.
 
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jae

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Any suggestions for rackmount DAT decks?
 

fpitas

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I have several small items on rack shelves.
 

chelgrian

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Any suggestions for rackmount DAT decks?
The most robust decks were the 4 head Sony pro machines such as the PCM-2700 or the DTC-77ES which was the consumer version of of it. Avoid the 2 head Sonys.

The Tascam DA30 mkii, DA40 and DA60 (but not the DA20) were pretty good but not up to the build quality of the Sonys.

You are going to have to pay a lot for a serviced working example and ideally you want to find someone local who can repair it if it mechanically goes wrong.

For a compact casette deck no new deck regardless of brand is of high quality, there is only one Chinese company making casette mechanisms left and they aren't that great.

For something decent you need a restored deck from a company like Aiwa, Sony or the original incarnation of Nakamichi. I would spend some quality time researching on tapeheads.net.

Again you are going to be spending a lot for a good restored deck.

As others have said the only real reason to have a dedicated CD player is loading speed.

For UHD-BD/BD/DVD/CD a Panasonic DP-UB820 is pretty good, if you want a better analogue out then the DP-UB9000 is basically the same player in a nicer box with higher quality DACs.

If you care about SACD you'd need a Sony X800M2 instead or decide to have a dedicated CD/SACD player.
 
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jae

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The most robust decks were the 4 head Sony pro machines such as the PCM-2700 or the DTC-77ES which was the consumer version of of it. Avoid the 2 head Sonys.

The Tascam DA30 mkii, DA40 and DA60 (but not the DA20) were pretty good but not up to the build quality of the Sonys.

You are going to have to pay a lot for a serviced working example and ideally you want to find someone local who can repair it if it mechanically goes wrong.

For a compact casette deck no new deck regardless of brand is of high quality, there is only one Chinese company making casette mechanisms left and they aren't that great.

For something decent you need a restored deck from a company like Aiwa, Sony or the original incarnation of Nakamichi. I would spend some quality time researching on tapeheads.net.

Again you are going to be spending a lot for a good restored deck.

As others have said the only real reason to have a dedicated CD player is loading speed.

For UHD-BD/BD/DVD/CD a Panasonic DP-UB820 is pretty good, if you want a better analogue out then the DP-UB9000 is basically the same player in a nicer box with higher quality DACs.

If you care about SACD you'd need a Sony X800M2 instead or decide to have a dedicated CD/SACD player.
Thanks for the suggestions. I'm a collector of old CRT broadcast/arcade monitors which I restore/service (albeit not much time for that lately) and a number of years ago when I found a nice haul of them the guy wanted to give me all sorts of high end Sony DAT recorders and tape along with a bunch of copper all for free but I declined, which I guess I am regretting now. I believe almost all of them were identical so it would have been nice to have a working one and a bunch of potential spare parts.

I managed to find a seemingly mid-ish range two-head TEAC V-550X cassette deck I had in storage that has very little hours on it, although I don't know the current condition from sitting idle so long. I'll have that as a backup although still have my eyes peeled for something a bit better. Even though they aren't the best, seems like some of the "new" tascam/teac decks pop up quite cheap now and then from people that regret the nostalgia purchase.

Will be using digital out for all sources if available so quality of internal DACs are not a real concern. I liked the idea of having something SACD compatible although it is perhaps less of a priority for me. I believe the Playstation 3 console supports SACD, so I think I can still play them fine in a pinch.
 
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